It was between the bells when I developed skills that helped me be a good student; it was afterschool where I developed skills that helped me be a good person.
During the school day, I loved absorbing new information—but only if I could raise my hand and be called on to talk about it or answer the teacher's questions, verbosely. I was participatory and was told I brought humor and energy to class, from kindergarten through middle school. Although, I was generally graded in subjects outside my areas of unique brilliance.
Unfortunately, there was nothing on any of the New York State mandated tests that required an engaging personality or an ability to make people laugh. I was a much better giver of love than I was a taker of tests. (How do you experience and express the love within you? Yeah, that wasn't on the test. What does it mean to "find your voice"? Also not on the test.)
I was a pretty good student who had really good teachers, but it was in my Brownie Girl Scout troop where I learned how to be a part of something, do things with purpose and sell the hell out of cookies. (It's also where I developed an annual addiction to Thin Mints.) It was at the High School of Performing Arts, a public school I auditioned to get into, where I became a storyteller, a connector, a builder of chosen family, a collaborator and confident presenter of my own ideas.
Afterschool is where I felt truly free to dig deep, feel, process, play, explore, unearth, drop guards, raise voices and embarrass myself for others.
Flash forward 20 years, and I'm invited to embarrass myself in honor of afterschool educators. Thank you for making it easy to be a bad singer with an inner rockstar! YOUR AFTERSCHOOL STUDENTS NEED TO FIND THEIR INNER ROCKSTAR AND BE THEIR OWN GROUPIES—YOU CAN HELP THEM DO IT!
CLICK HERE to find the lyrics to "I Loooove After School!" Download the karaoke track to Joan Jett's original tune, to which I set the words for my insane performance at the NAA conference, and get your students and staffers rockin'! Make a video and go viral in social media! Tag @NAA & @WriteBrainBooks.
Come on afterschoolers, rock it out!
Written by Meredith Scott Lynn, Grateful Founder & CEO of WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS.